Archive | September, 2011

This Needs To Stop – Check-out Ignorance

7 Sep

Look how happy this lady is. Clearly she's never been in my check-out line.

If choosing the slowest-moving line at the grocery store was an olympic event, my apartment would be full of gold medals. I am the god damn Michael Phelps of inefficient grocery line selection. If you ever see me at Sobeys or the Superstore and I start moving towards one of the lines, even if I am the only person in that line and every other line is 20 people long, save yourself – DO NOT GET IN MY LINE!

This unfortunate affliction is something that I have had to come to grips with over the years. Trainee employees – my specialty. Extreme couponers – my habitual line-mates. People paying in pennies – my everyday grocery experience. While these characters don’t necessarily expedite my food-shopping habits, they are not the subject of today’s rant. No – this one goes out to a very special guy (who represents many just like him) – the ill-prepared grocery shopper who exists in blissful ignorance of other shoppers and their lives/schedules.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was in the line behind a young man. He had a fair number of groceries to purchase. He stood there staring in to space as the cashier rung his items through. He did not put the grocery separator at the end of his pile (a red flag moment).  As the last of his items were scanned, it occured to him that he needed another item. “Oh one minute,” he grumbled. “I need to get something else.” The cashier started blankly. Those behind him in line did a simultaneous eye-roll.

I’ve been in his shoes before,  realizing that I’ve forgotten an integral grocery item after I’m already in the line. In this case I either a) run like a crazy woman and grab my required item in record time, returning to the check-out before the last of my items is scanned, OR b) just accept that I screwed it up, and come back for that item later. The problem was, this guy’s stuff had already been completely rung in. He left the line anyway, perusing the aisles in search of that one last product. I assumed that whatever he was going back for was an essential ingredient. A minute passed. 2 minutes. 3 minutes. In the context of a grocery store line, this is a very long time. He finally came back, and placed his can of Pringles with the rest of his order. The cashier rung them in. Then he opened his mouth again.

Oh, I’ve got some coupons.”

Um…Ok,” muttered the visibly frustrated cashier.

They’re in my car. I’ll go get them.

ARE YOU F%$#ING KIDDING ME?! He took off towards the parking lot, appearing to be in no particular rush. A few minutes later he returned with a handful of coupons. He turned to me and laughed, “You guys probably hate me right now huh?” Oh buddy. You have no idea. Based on the absolute effery of this dude, the line behind me had thinned out. In all my years of grocery shopping I have never felt quite so homicidal.

If going back for the Pringles meant that you might get swarmed by a mob of angry grocery shoppers, would you do it?

Finally he paid, grabbed his bags and exited the premises. I purchased my items with no further incident and started walking home. As I headed up the hill, long-awaited groceries in hand, I watched as this guy drove away in his shiny sports car. I should have said something to him, or thrown something, but my rage consumed me. So for this young man, and the people like him that I’m sure I will continue to encounter, here’s a little cheat-sheet for you on grocery check-out etiquette.

#1 Make a list. Figure out what you need. Put it in your cart. Buy it.

#2 If you miss something on the list and you don’t realistically have time to go back and get it without seriously putting the efficiency of the line in jeopardy, come back and get it later.

#3 Ask yourself this question – “If I was the cashier, would I want to punch a customer in the face for this behavior?” If the answer is yes, cease that behavior immediately.

#4 Other people have lives too. We are all on a schedule. We all have places to be. Your time is no more important than anyone else’s. So please, grocery shop accordingly.


The Bees Knees – Big Day Downtown – Part 1

2 Sep is a team effort. When we were asked to participate in Halifax’s Big Day Downtown, and given $100 to spend at downtown merchants, we decided to see how far $100 could be stretched and try to accomplish as much as possible.

For the first installment of our adventure, Leslie and Sylvia decided on a do-it-yourself day, for hungry and crafty bloggers on a budget.

Part 1: Pizza-Making – total expenditure: $6

Morris East is one of the best pizza places in Halifax. Its popularity means that there isn’t always a table ready for you, but fear not – we’ve got a solution to your problems. You can buy pizza crust from them and make your own pizza at home! We tried to do this. It worked (kind-of).

Calzoney goodness

Sylvia – We were 100% prepared with delicious toppings, hungry bellies and good intentions. Getting the dough to do what we wanted was a bit tricky. It was a ridiculously warm and humid day so I’m not sure if that makes dough tossing tougher for the average joe or not. The pizza crust and I battled it out and I ended up making a calzone instead of a flat pizza. The result was delicious carby goodness.

Leslie – Well, I won’t be listing ‘pizza-tossing’ on my CV under my marketable skills any time soon. However, I’m a very accomplished pizza eater, and other than the charcoal quality of the bottom of my pizza, it was quite delicious. Apparently Sylvia’s calzone method was more effective and considerably less messy. Next time we’ll be better prepared. But anyway you slice it, $3 for a restaurant-quality pizza crust is a steal of a deal.

Despite a burnt bottom this baby sure looks good!

Helpful hint to those of you embarking on your own pizza making adventure – prepare your pizza on a well greased cookie sheet and slide it off the cookie sheet directly onto the BBQ. Make sure to keep the temperature fairly low to prevent burning.

Be sure to check out the Morris East instructional video before you get started!

Part 2: Craft-Making – total expenditure: $44.08

There are lots of great places downtown for the creatively inclined, but DeSerres on Barrington probably has the best selection of supplies. Since there is a wedding on the horizon for Sylvia, we decided to put our money to semi-practical use and get the necessary tools for some DIY ‘Save the Date’ cards.

Sylvia – Being completely new to wedding crafting, this was a fun undertaking. It’s amazing how many crafting supplies there are geared towards such a day and how incredibly overwhelming it can feel when you have something in mind but can’t seem to find it. Lucky for me my partner in crime kept her eye on the prize and we came up with some awesome ideas!

Craft supplies: $40. A crafternoon with a good friend: priceless.

Leslie – My craft-making skills may not be on par with those of my fellow-bloggers, but I’m always up for a new experience, and what better time to get crafty than during the furious downpours of Hurricane Irene? I didn’t realize how huge DeSerres is inside. You can get any/every kind of crafting tool you can image, except what we were looking for… a nautical themed stamp-kit. Luckily, Sylvia and I are both project managers by trade and well-accustomed to having to adapt our plans on the fly. The staff at DeSerres was very helpful and friendly, and seemed to know precisely where everything was (that’s no small feat in a store of this size). Perhaps the highlight of our in-store experience was when a woman (most certainly a regular customer) pointed us in the direction of the sale items while simultaneously bestowing a collective pet-name on us… “They’re over there, Sweeties.

Sylvia – Once us “sweeties” were armed with the supplies we needed, we hunkered down and got to work. With our stash of craft supplies we came up with the overall layout for the save the dates. We attempted to lay out with words with a previously purchased stamping kit – but this proved to be a very complicated way to get text on the paper. So while we don’t have a finished product yet – we have (among other things) hand-crafted boat and anchor stamps, lots of paint, and some sweet ribbon as a finishing touch. Another stormy day crafternoon will get this project wrapped up.

Leslie – Since we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, we got extra crafty and crafted our own supplies with which to make crafts. (Did I just blow your mind a little bit?) Making/carving out your own stamps is an extremely satisfying experience, even if they don’t turn out completely professional-looking. Next time I might try something a bit easier (like a star or a heart) instead of going for a boat on my first attempt. But it was a learning experience. And a great way to spend an afternoon!

A huge thank you to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for letting us be part of Big Day Downtown!

Stay tuned next week for part 2 of our Big Day Downtown when Sarah and Joel take on the city!

The Bee’s Knees — Parker Street Furniture and Food Bank

1 Sep

Joel’s girlfriend Leah shares her thoughts on experiencing the joys of buying school supplies after you’ve finished school.

After reading last week’s Wednesday Weeping about the joys and nostalgia of back-to-school-shopping I got to thinking about my experiences of going back to school as a young girl.

The final haul.

I was extremely lucky to have parents who could afford to take me on back-to-school shopping trips. A new pair of jeans, maybe a pair of new shoes and all the supplies a girl could need for another educational adventure. But I realized then, and appreciate even more now that I’m out on my own, that I was part of a lucky few.

I went to a great elementary school, but it was considered an inner city school. Most of my classmates could not afford new jeans and sneakers each September, and for many if not most, loose leaf and new pencils was a sweet haul for a new year.

Back then, my mum (a teacher) made sure that I had a couple extra packs of loose leaf, pencils and Kleenex boxes for “class supplies”. That simple gesture of ensuring every kid in the class had access to some of the supplies they needed has stayed with me all these years.

So, after reading the back-to-school post last week, I stopped and thought, “yeah, back-to-school shopping is awesome and I can still do it now!”

Tuesday evening, Joel and I set out for Staples. Basket in hand, we frolicked down the aisles, gleefully selecting an array of fun and funky items (and, of course, all the necessary stuff). Twenty minutes and well over $100 later we were done and had five bags brimming with binders, protractor sets, pencils (even the clicky kind), pencil crayons and markers and more duo-tangs than a 4th grader could handle. We even got wicked Spiderman and Transformers pencil cases (which I’ll admit, I kind of wanted to keep).

Wednesday, we took all those supplies to the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank – an incredible community centre that offers families in need essential supplies. This year, they’ve got a huge drive on for school supplies. (Many of the families they help are facing the choice between rent or school supplies for their kids.)

The appreciation and love at Parker Street Furniture and Food Bank is incredible. Our small gesture made a real difference to them and to some kids who will now have the necessary tools to succeed this school year.

Best. Feeling. Ever.

So, if you’re like us, and want a chance to do some back-to-school shopping as an adult but don’t have a need for Hilroy notebooks anymore, then I encourage you all to get out there and donate the supplies to kids in need.

The Parker Street Furniture and Food Bank is on Maynard Street in the North End of Halifax. They are accepting school supplies and they told us that they are in real need of backpacks.

So have some fun back-to-school shopping and help a kid experience that joy you felt all those years ago.